NORMAN — There came a sound of high school football as the sun rose above the clouds and a train whistle howled.
At the center of it all, standing on the edge of Norman North's midfield logo, was quarterback David Cornwell. Cornwell was silent but the sticks for his air drums were whipping out an intense but steady rock beat.
It was one of those rare moments when the new quarterback for the Timberwolves was not messing with a football in his hands.
After a controversial offseason involving questions of his eligibility, Cornwell, who moved to Norman North from Jones, smiled when he said he was happy practice was starting.
“Just get back to football,” the Alabama commitment said. “Just you and the guys.”
Just after 7 a.m. Norman North starts its first official practice of the 2013 season, months after losing in the Class 6A state finals last year. The Timberwolves' 2013 goal: work for a championship.
As Norman North coach Wade Standley tells his team later: “They don't just give ‘em away.”
7:24 a.m. Kenny Chesney's “Boys of Fall” replaces the sound of trains. The Timberwolves are running through passing drills.
Not every pass that Cornwell sends off is caught, but that's because his passes are going so fast, the wide receivers are a half second late getting their hands up. They run slant, post, curl and corner routes as Cornwell, slings them off.
Cornwell might be the big-name new kid that most are getting to know, but he's easy to spot. Despite the laser throw and the plentiful inches he commandeers over his teammates and coaches, he's wearing a pair of Calvin Johnson 81 Nike cleats he received from ESPN's Elite 11. They are the color of a new tennis ball.
8:16 a.m. The Timberwolves work on their handoffs from Cornwell. This may be Day 1, but there's no time to waste.
8:37 a.m. Cornwell stares to the sideline and watches for his signal. He looks back at his line, wipes his hands against his gym shorts, slightly shakes them and then spreads his fingers before cradling the ball and launching the spiral toward tight end Payton Prince.
The two players already have an infectious bond of seriousness — and playfulness.
9:06 a.m. As the second offense runs through plays, Cornwell and the first offense stand watching. He has a ball in his right hand that he's already thrown perfectly with his left hand. He uses the pigskin to scratch his chin.
Prince walks over and high-fives him.
Then Cornwell begins to do the infamous Gangnam Style dance as the song plays behind practice. His highlighter-bright cleats shuffle back and forth.
9:17 a.m. Cornwell lobs deep passes in the end zone to Prince.
“I love to have that big body I can throw the ball to and take the safety away,” Cornwell said of Prince. “Just go up and get it.
Said Prince: “It's good to have one of the top quarterbacks in the country on our team.”
Especially if you're on a team that's trying to get that gold ball.
9:29 a.m. While his center prepares the line, Cornwell stands behind him dancing to MC Hammer.
“I've never been just a crazy, go-hard-all-the-time-guy.” Cornwell said after practice. “A game is different, but out here's it's just a long week. It's a light day the first day, we get everyone back and kind of joke around a bit.”
But the tune he danced to may be no joke. It just may be his motto this season.
“Can't touch this / I told you homeboy / you can't touch this.”